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PUBLISHED BY JOHN MASON,
AT THE WESLEYAN CONFERENCE OFFICE, 14, CITY-ROAD;
THE period has now arrived when, the last Number of the Wesleyan Magazine for the year 1844 being completed, the Preface to the entire volume must be written. In several respects this is a pleasing task; as we have to offer our thanks, both to the SUBSCRIBERS, who, by calling for our labours, encourage us in prosecuting them; and to our CORRESPONDENTS, whose aid contributes so much to the interest and value of the work. But while we thank our friends for their assistance, they will allow us to request that it may be continued. We may urge this, by referring to two important reasons. The Wesleyan Methodist, is only a continuation of the Arminian, Magazine, first published by Mr. Wesley, in 1778;-so that it is not only the oldest religious Periodical of the day, but one which, amidst all the changes occurring during the last sixty-seven years, has exhibited a close adherence to the principles which the honoured projector of the work originally laid down, although the methods by which they have been carried out may have varied with the varying circumstances of the times. From the first, the one great object has been, the advancement of that inward and spiritual religion to which, in these latter days, wherever found, the name of Methodism has been given, and which, in the New Testament, is called, THE KINGDOM OF GOD; consisting of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Mr. Wesley was led by circumstances to seek to advance these principles in connexion with the statement and defence of the theological sentiments of Arminius, and therefore as opposed to the distinguishing opinions of Calvinism; but still, his great object was the promotion of an Evangelism, in which both Calvin and Arminius were agreed. But between the Calvinistic and Wesleyan Churches, there is now little controversy. They agree to differ. By both, a better employment has been found in those Missionary undertakings, on which, as conducted both by Calvinists and Arminians, the divine blessing has undeniably rested. For many years, therefore, the Methodist Magazine was chiefly devoted to the uncontroversial endeavour directly to promote vital godliness; and at one time rejoiced, with other Religious Periodicals, in the opening prospect of brighter days of peace and union for the Churches of Christ. Within our own memory, the saying of a distinguished statesman, and firm member of the Established Church,-" IF WE CANNOT RECONCILE ALL DIFFERENCES, LET US UNITE ALL HEARTS," was welcomed, apparently, by all parties, and from every side echoed back with delightful distinctness. And the saying was not only Christianly kind, but Christianly philosophical. Till hearts are united, differences will never be reconciled; and they who, with united hearts, walk in love, are in the direct way to the reconcilement of differences, because the Spirit of love is likewise the Spirit of truth. The time is come when the charge of schism must be made against those who are really guilty of it. They are the real schismatics who insist on submission to themselves as the only ground of visible agreement, and call for a uniformity of which their own model is the standard, in the place of that unity of heart of which the Spirit of God is the author.